Spectacularity. This is the perfect word to define U2 concerts. Beyond their greatest hits, which have become real anthems — is there anyone who hasn’t heard One, Where The Streets Has No Name or I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For ?— , the Irish band has been able to squeeze the technology and turn their live performances into a spectacle in every sense of the word.
However, we believe that there is room for more. It’s still possible to take the U2 concert experience even further. In order to do this, we have set up a five-day Design Sprint to turn inside out the concept of concert.
This is how we have done it.
What is Design Sprint?
Design Sprint is a methodology created by Jake Knapp in 2010. Its aim is to solve big problems by testing and prototiping new ideas. All in just five days. To achieve this result in such a short period of time, Design Sprint process promotes individual work within multidisciplinary teams and avoids time-wasting debates and discussions.
A typical Design Sprint goes as follows: on the first day the team maps out the problem and picks an important place to focus. The second day is devoted to sketch out competing solutions. During the third day the ideas have to be turned into a testable hypothesis. On the fourth day, the team creates a prototype. When the fifth and final day comes, it will be time to test it with real users.
Now, let’s see how we applied this methodology to U2 concerts.
DAY 1: Understanding the problem
As we have just seen, the first day is dedicated to exploring the problem. The process began by deciding the sprint goal, that is the goal we wanted to reach once the five days of the Design Sprint have ended.
We needed to set the goal in a way that was precise enough to allow us to move forward, but at the same time broad enough to give room for creativity. Finally, we came up with the following proposal:
Transforming the concert experience through technology.
Once we had set our goal and posted it in our canvas, we went on to write down the sprint questions. These are the doubts that the sprint goal have posed to us, such as “do spectators of a U2 concert use technology?” or “would they like to interact with the show?”.
Once we had formulate the list of sprint questions, we drew up a map of two hypothetical actors. It represents the travel of two U2 fans (Anabel and Fer) from the very moment that they decide to go to a concert, until the end of the show.
The last dynamic of the first day is the elaboration of “How Might We” (HMW) questions (as their name suggests, these questions have to start with “How might we…?”). Once they have been written in post-its and pasted into the canvas, all team members have to vote their favourites HMW questions. The most voted one should become the leading question for the rest of the sprint.
In our case, the most voted HMW and therefore the one that we chose to continue the Design Sprint, was the following:
How might we bring the experience of the concert to those who can’t attend the show.
DAY 2: Sketching
The second day began with a little research. Each member of the team looked for inspiration from existing ideas, services or products related in some way to our challenge. The ideas that inspired us came from similar problems but different contexts.
Each of us sketched out the most interesting ideas and presented them to the rest of the team members. After that, it was time for the four-steps sketching process:
- Step 1, we took notes about goals, opportunities, and inspirations that our previous findings suggested to us.
- Step 2, we continued jotting down basic ideas about what has been collected so far in the Design Sprint.
- Step 3, the moment of the “Crazy 8”. Each member of the team took a piece of paper and divided it in eight parts. Then, with the help of an alarm clock, we sketched our ideas in just one minute (one for each part of the paper).
- Step 4, each of us drew a final sketch with our solution. A simple but well explained concept that contains all the details. This step should be done anonymously (or at least as anonymously as possible), because when the time comes to evaluate the sketches, anonymity will facilitate the task.
DAY 3: Looking for the best idea
The third day of the Design Sprint began with a silent vote. The sketches were placed on the wall (or the window, as it was in our case) and each member of the team placed a sticker on the ideas they thought were best. This generated a “heat map” that showed the most interesting contributions.
In our case, there were three or four popular ideas: generating a new service for Spotify, synchronizing the U2 show with a smart wristband, connecting the user’s mobile screen with a SmartTV… Finally, the winning idea was the creation of a mobile app which would take the gameplay of Guitar Hero or Sing Star, while livestreaming 360 video of a U2 show.
Once we have voted and decided which project would be carried out, we made a story board. As you can see below this lines, it visualized how our app could be used by a U2 fan.
DAY 4: Designing and prototiping
The fourth day is dedicated to design. The goal we wanted to achieve that day was to design a functional prototype that would allow users to interact with it. But, as its name suggests, the Design Sprint process is a sprint, so there’s not much time to generate hi-fi prototypes. However, we spent a little more time than expected to accomplish this phase.
Here you have a glimpse of the prototype that was designed at that point of the process:
U2 HERO is an app that allows to choose a concert from U2’s Experience + Innocence Tour. The users would be able to follow the show from anywhere via streaming. They can put themselves in the shoes of the band members and play different games. For example, they select the guitar, the will have to follow the guitar melody that The Edge would be playing at that very moment in the concert; and the same goes for the rest of the members. In addition, when the users end up a game, they would accumulate points that could be exchanged for different prizes.
DAY 5: Testing
On the fifth and final day of the Design Sprint we tested the prototype with five users. They were asked to use it as if it were a regular app.
In addition to face-to-face tests, we did remote testing with Maze. This tool generates a heat map that shows where users have clicked, which screens they have visited and in what order they did it. The main difficulty was to give a context that allowed users to understand the product.
All these tests gave us an idea of what worked well and what needed to be improved. For example, they showed that most of the users didn’t distinguish between the guitar button and the bass button until they have clicked on them. Other pain point was the navigation through the main menu.
At this point the final day has ended and the Design Sprint was over. Have we reached our initial goal? Yes and no. Let’s explain it.
As we mentioned at the beginning, our goal was to transform the experience of a U2 concert. Taking stock overall, our project was left at half speed. We would need a new Design Sprint, redefine the goal and reshape our solution. We have worked on the general idea, but there are still a lot to do! We should test in greater detail the different games, the interaction with the live streaming 360 video, and so on.
Design Sprint is not for all tastes. It needs a working team committed to the project (as it was in our case!), an open mindstate and a willingness to accept risks.
One of the main difficulties of this methodology is that the search for solutions is postponed until the third day of the sprint; that is until half of the process. We tend to give immediate answers to the questions we are asked, but this is not what we are supposed to do in Design Sprint. We have to invest the initial effort in raising questions instead of giving answers, and this is a challenging task that creates uncertainty among team members. But actually this could be the greatest point of the sprint.
As I said, I think that Design Sprint is not the perfect metodology for all projects. But definitely, it deserves a chance!